Spent Saturday with the Youngest at a horse show in Detroit. I was expecting to see lots of horse doing tricks, but this was training focused. His teachers use this approach, Parelli, which is all about learning a horse’s personality and working on your relationship with said equine. It sounds, I know, very goofy, sorta like that pet psychologist at the beginning of Best in Show. But it was actually fascinating. People brought their problem horses and the Parelli folk did their stuff right there on the fly, without any prior contact.
We caught the end of a palamino’s session and watched a spectacular pinto from the beginning. The trainer immediately identified that the pinto didn’t think much of people; he thought they were boring, which is why he runs away whenever the owner tries to catch him. So the trainer just let him run around and didn’t try to catch him. Eventually, the horse calmed down, and because she was acting so opposite from every human he’s ever been around, became really interested in her. It’s hard to explain, but it was really cool to watch.
Naturally, I couldn’t help wonder why I don’t do this with people more: just observe them and figure out what their way is to do things rather than constantly expect them to act/react from my frame of reference. Well, of course I know why I don’t do that; hardly anybody does. Most of us basically slap our whole list of expectations across somebody’s face before we ever know a thing about them, and we keep it there long after we should know better. Then we load ’em down with all our personal baggage, and voila, there goes the relationship.
When I look back, I think the only regrets that I have are connected to not accepting people for who they were, but instead prescribing what they should do based on what I’d do in their situation – which I would probably never be in because I would have made different choices that would have been equally worthy of judgment from someone else’s p.o.v. Julie told me a long time ago to get rid of the shoulds and the oughts, and it was some of the best advice I ever got. I know that neither she nor I nor anybody else always does that, but I know that we both try not to do it so often.
I’m gonna stop trying to catch the horse. Just watch it with my eyes and heart open. I know I’ll learn a bunch of stuff.